Beyond G’Day: A Triathlete’s Guide To Aussie English

To the untrained American ear, Australian English can sound like rhythmically accented gobbledygook.

Photo: Jeff Bottari

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Sure, English is the primary language of the land down under. But to the untrained American ear, Australian English can sound like rhythmically accented gobbledygook. As part of our warm-up coverage for the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne, we interpret a handful of commonly used words and phrases to help make sense of what our multi-sport “mates” are saying:

go, going = do, doing 

“How do you think Rinny will go at Ironman Melbourne?”

“How are you going today?”

What’s on? = What’s happening? What’s planned?

“Forget about the pre-race activities – do you know what’s on for the after party?”
heaps = lots

“I ate heaps of ice cream after my long ride.”


niggle = injury

physio = physical therapist

“I’ve had this niggle in my calf for three or four weeks now – I guess I’d better get in to see my physio.”
arvo = afternoon

tomoz = tomorrow

“I’ll run this morning and swim in the arvo. Then tomoz will be all about the bike.”
track = trail

“The best place to run is the track along the river. It’s all soft surface and the views are incredible.”
swim squad = Masters swimming

session = workout

“Did you hear that bloke going on at coffee after swim squad? He wouldn’t stop talking about how he nailed the session – but I saw him sit out a 50 on every 200!”


knob = fool

sunnies = sunglasses

“Yeah, that guy’s a bit of a knob. Did you see him checking out his own reflection in your sunnies?”


ace = the best

“Chocolate milk is ace after a hard session!”


lollies = candies

“Half the reason I train so hard is so that I can eat lollies all day.”


smashed, knackered, shattered, stuffed, buckled = totally exhausted

nana nap = afternoon nap

“I was completely smashed after that 150km ride. It was all I could do to make it home and take a two-hour nana nap.”


cruisey = easy

“Let’s just head out for a cruisey half hour run. My legs are pretty well stuffed from yesterday’s 30k.”


chuffed = thrilled

“Crowie was chuffed to win Kona for the third time.”


touch wood = knock on wood

“It will surely be a hot, humid run. Touch wood I get my nutrition right and don’t bonk.”


rubbish = trash

bin = trash can

“Don’t leave any rubbish on the course – be sure to toss it in the bin.”


come off the bike = crash

“I’m not at all surprised he came off the bike. He took that corner way too fast.”


port-a-loo = port-a-potty

“She couldn’t be bothered with the port-a-loo line – instead she ducked behind a bush.”


cozzie, bathers = swimsuit

togs = men’s swimsuit

scungies, budgy smugglers = men’s Speedo-style swimsuit

“You don’t see many men racing these days in budgy smugglers – except of course Faris Al Sultan.”


And finally, assuming you’ll want to celebrate properly post-race, a lesson in ordering beer Australian-style is in order. Beer glass sizes and descriptions vary from state to state and even from city to city in this froth-loving land, so we’ll focus on metropolitan Melbourne, where the following are the most commonly ordered:


pint = 20 ounces

schooner = 15 ounces

pot = 10 ounces

There’s also the glass at 7 ounces, the small glass at 6 ounces and the pony at 5 ounces, but really, why bother?

More from the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championships in Melbourne.

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